I decided to order a Raspberry Pi and a couple TCP-Pi daughter boards from Spark Fun and Coastal Chipworks respectively. The initial goal is reliability testing of the Raspberry Pi alone and then with the daughter boards. The remarkable Raspberry Pi is an incredible value. Quad-core 900 MHz for $50? Amazing.
My system of choice where reliability matters is a good fault tolerant rack mount PC with ECC ram, etc. All my systems have long moved to Virtual environments, but the rack PCs I’ve had in the past were absolutely rock solid reliable. Uptimes measured in hundreds of days were typical.
Can the Raspberry Pi provide the same level of fault tolerance? The answer is an obvious no since no fault tolerant design isn’t (and shouldn’t be) part of a design meant for educational use. No critique implied. I am going to give it a try regardless just to see if this big bang for the buck system might be “good enough” to get the ball rolling for the VAPN.
If this system proves too “frail” for a remote hilltop node, I can see a dozen other good uses for this combination of products as “user” systems. Short of the thing bursting into flames, I think my meager investment is safe no matter the result.